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In the beginning...

February 4, 2018

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In the beginning...

February 4, 2018

 

As promised, I am posting my sermon - of sorts.  I used to research and write an essay for my sermons, then I would reduce it to bullet points because I feel that the best sermons/talks are those delivered from the heart, rather than read.

 

Then one day, I believed that God was telling me to preach without my notes.  That was very scary but I obeyed and haven't looked back since.  Obviously I still research and prepare, and sometimes am still tempted to take bullet points, but I resist taking notes with me.

 

So when I say here is my sermon, I have adapted it for the written word rather than to a body of people who can interact with me.  So here is a shortened version of my sermon in a 

 

When I saw the readings for today, I was filled with excitement. One was Proverbs 8:1 then 22 – 31, and the other John 1: 1 – 14. Proverbs is headed, Wisdom's Call, and John, The Word Became Flesh.

 

If I invited you to a party, and didn't seem very enthusiastic about it myself, you wouldn't be enthusiastic about coming.

 

With a friend, I went to a course during Advent.  We looked at a book called, "Come Emmanuel: Approaching Advent, Living with Christmas" by Ann Lewin.  In it she talks about wisdom and says,

 

"Wisdom isn’t the same as information or knowledge, though it includes both. Perhaps

it is  more to do with the way we use the understanding that we have. For example, a

knowledgeable  person will know that a tomato is a fruit; a wise person will tell you that

it is  not  the best thing to put into a fruit salad."

 

How very true that is.

 

Moving to the passage in John, we hear this passage every Christmas.  Whenever I am organising our Carols by Candlelight Service, I feel sorry for the person who gets this reading because it seems like a tongue-twister and needs to be read very carefully in order to get your tongue around the words.

 

It starts,

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing

was  made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."

 

We have the benefit of knowledge that those during the times the Bible was written, didn't have.  They had the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) and people who seemed as though they were mad at times.  Prophets spoke of impending doom if repentance wasn't observed, no one took any notice!  People were getting fed up with the promise of a saviour and year after year, that saviour didn't appear.

 

We have just celebrated the birth of that Saviour.  Suddenly, Jesus came into the world, born of Mary and Joseph, Hope born into the world.  The shock came when Jesus didn't appear to save the world at all, instead He was tortured, crucified and died.  It seemed a sad end to a promising life.

 

But it didn't end there, Jesus, as prophesied in the Old Testament, He was raised to life, conquering death.  The reason He had to die was to pay the ultimate sacrifice, for our sin and secure a place in heaven for all those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.  

 

As an Evangelical Christian, I stand of the Word of God.  That means two things for me.  The Word is both the Bible and the Word is also Jesus.

 

John says that the Word was with God right from the very beginning, before the world was formed.  Jesus didn't just appear in the New Testament, that was Jesus in the human form.

 

The Proverbs passage is what made both these readings so exciting for me.  Years before Jesus was born, Proverbs was written,

 

“The Lord created me as the first of his works, before His acts of long ago.  I was formed

a long, long time ago.  I was formed at the very beginning, when the world was created.  

 

Before there were any oceans, I was born.  It was before there were springs flowing with
water. Before the mountains were settled in place, I was born.

 

Before there were any hills, I was  born. It happened before the Lord made the world and its fields.  It was before He made the dust of  the earth.

 

  I was there when He set the heavens in place.  When He marked out the

place where  the sky meets the sea, I was there.  

 

That was when He put the clouds above.  It was when he fixed the ocean springs in place.  It was when He set limits for the sea so that the waters had to obey His command.

 

When the Lord marked out the foundations of the earth, I was there.  I was constantly at His side.  I was filled with delight day after day.  I was always happy to be with Him.  His whole world filled me with joy.  I took delight in all human beings."

 

Both these readings confirm the magnitude of God, and how much He loves us.  More confirmations that Jesus was there from the very beginning, come at the very beginning, in Genesis 1: 26 - 27

 

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the

fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the

creatures that move along the ground.”  So God created man in His own image, in the image

of God He created Him; male and female He created them.

 

Some say that the world is older than Christians say it is, and it could not have been created in six days.  The more people try to disprove the Bible, the more evidence comes to light to prove it.   The only thing the Bible disputes about creation, is those who say that there was no creator and it just happened.

 

How many times have you said, "it only seems like yesterday that..."?  Time moves in a number of ways.  It can take an eternity to come around and when we look back we find that it has disappeared in an instant.  

 

We don't know how long each "day" was in the story of creation, but if time passes like that for us, maybe we are getting a glimpse of how it passes for God, to God a day is a thousand years, and a thousand years is but a day to God.

 

Back to my party invitiation, if we accept Jesus into our lives, accept that He is our Saviour, the Key to eternal life, He paid the price for our sin, that is exciting.  We have the Holy Spirit to help and guide us through life and all it throws at us.  If we are excited about this, we will want to share it with others and invite others to join the party.  

 

We do that by standing on The Word; Stand on Jesus and stand on the Bible.  If we do that, together we can stand strong, firmly rooted in the Love of God.  It won't make our lives perfect, but it will enable us to find Peace that passes all understanding and enable us to better deal with the things life throws at us.

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